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Archives - State Agencies - Board of Public Accountancy

[Authorized:  NDCC Section 43-02.2]

The Board of Accountancy was founded in 1913 to regulate the practice of accounting and certified public accountants. It also conducted examinations for certified public accountants. The Board consisted of three members who were appointed by the trustees of the State University (University of North Dakota). Board members included “a skilled educator, an attorney, and one person skilled in accounting.” The term of office was five years and procedures for filling vacancies were conducted in the same manner. Duties of the Board were approved by the trustees of the State University. In order to practice accounting a certified public accountant (CPA) had to meet Board qualifications and to hold a certificate from the Board (S. L. 1913, Ch. 2).

In 1925 the Board of Accountancy became a state board and was no longer governed by the trustees of the State University. It was renamed the State Board of Public Accountancy and it consisted of three gubernatorial appointees who were certified public accountants. Board members served staggered three year terms. The Board elected a president, secretary, and treasurer although the secretary-treasurer position could be held by one person. Annually the Board presented to the Governor a detailed statement of receipts and disbursements. Also in 1925 the law required that all applicants who wished to become a certified public accountant pass an examination (S. L. 1925, Ch. 2). 

In 1975 the Public Accountancy Act allowed for changes in the Century Code for the accountancy laws. Qualifications of a licensed public accountant (LPA) were established by the Board and the Board began licensing public accountants. Penalties for violations of the law were the responsibility of the Board (S. L. 1975, Ch. 394). 

Also in 1975 the Board increased to five. Four members needed to be certified public accountants and one a licensed public accountant. All Board members had to be practicing in the state. If the number of licensed public accountants dropped below twenty five the one licensed public accountant position would be replaced at the end of the term with a certified public accountant (S. L. 1975, Ch. 394). A slate of candidates was submitted to the Governor by a nominating committee selected from the certified public accountants and the licensed public accountants in North Dakota. This changed in 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 453.)  

The legislature in 1993 required Board members to take the oath of office given to public officers. If a vacancy occurred the Governor appointed a member. If a member had a certificate revoked or suspended they were no longer a member of the Board, and if any member was negligent in their duties as a Board member they would be removed by the Governor after a hearing was held. The Board organized and elected officers at the first meeting after June 30 of each year. Administrative business was conducted by an executive director (S. L. 1993, Ch. 417) with the office located in Grand Forks.

Also in 1993 the duties of the Board included protecting the public from fraudulent practices and assuring professional ethics. They determined the qualifications of all applicants and conducted examinations for certified public accountants and licensed public accountants.  They were authorized to issue certificates and licenses, administer oaths to all applicants and persons appearing before them either for examination or investigation. Rules of conduct for certified public accountants and licensed public accountants were established and fees were set and collected. The Board held investigations and hearings for certificate and license holders who were in violation of the Century Code (S. L. 1993, Ch. 417).  

Since 1993 the Board has granted CPA certificates to any person who has demonstrated good moral character, met the requirements and qualifications, and who passed the standardized examination called the Uniform CPA Examination (S. L. 1993, Ch. 417). 

Finally in 1993 the Board began granting and renewing a permit to practice to any CPA and LPA who possessed a valid North Dakota certificate or license. The permits had to be displayed in the place of business. If one or more persons chose to incorporate, the firm had to hold a permit granted by the State Board of Accountancy and employ certified public accountants and/or licensed public accountants. If the firm had offices in more than one location each office needed to be registered and display the permit showing ownership of the firm (S. L. 1993, Ch. 417).

In 1999 the law allowed Board members to serve no than two consecutive terms (S. L.1999, Ch. 372). The Board of Accountancy was to administer the state accounting law and regulations, to investigate, examine, certify, and license properly qualified accountants. It was to review the entrance qualifications of CPA candidates, annually register accountants, monitor continuing education, and address consumer concerns. Rules established by the Board ensured a high standard of integrity, continuing education, and proficiency among the holders of certified public accountant certificates and among licensed public accountants. In doing so, the Board prescribed and administered a code of professional ethics.

The Board was to carry out disciplinary actions and revoke a certificate, license, practice privilege, or permit. It could refuse to renew, to reprimand, and limit the scope of practice.  The Board could impose an administrative fine or put on probation anyone in violation of the provisions of the law (S. L. 1999, Ch. 372 ). There was a waiting period of five years before an applicant could make another application for a license.

Certificates, licenses, and permits were renewed annually. Requirements included proof of continuing professional education and paying a fee. The Board could issue a license by reciprocity as established in the Century Code. Practitioners who had a valid CPA license from another state and who met national qualifications under the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) were allowed the same privileges as a certificate or permit holder (S. L.1999, Ch. 372). As a national standard the UAA “provided a uniform approach to the regulation of the accounting profession and promoted key concepts aimed at mobility and easing reciprocity while strengthening public protection.”


1913       The Board of Accountancy was created to regulate certified public accountants and the practice of accounting. Trustees of the State University (University of North Dakota) selected the Board and set the policies (S. L. 1913,Ch. 2).

1925       The legislature created the Board of Accountancy as a board of state government.  Three members who had to be certified accountants were appointed by the Governor. The Board examined and issued certificates to certified public accountants (S. L. 1925, Ch. 2).

1975       The Board was renamed the North Dakota State Board of Public Accountancy. Board membership increased to five. Four were certified public accountants and one a licensed public accountant. The Public Accountancy Act [NDCC 43-02.1] replaced the accountant chapter [NDCC 43-02] in the Century Code. The Board set up examinations and licensing of public accountants (S. L. 1975, Ch. 394).

1981       The Governor no longer made the board appointments from a list of recommendations submitted by a nominating committee (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435).

1993       The Board granted a permit to practice to CPAs and LPAs in accounting firms. Firms had to employ certified and license accountants if they advertised as such. The Public Accountancy Act was repealed (S. L. 1993, Ch. 417).

1999       A new section was added to the Century Code relating to substantial equivalency of certified public accountants who were not state residents (S. L. 1999, Ch. 372).

2009       The National Association of State Board of Accountancy was selected as the standard for reciprocity for a non-resident practitioner (S. L. 2009, Ch. 357). There was an amendment to a section of the Century Code related to the certifying of public accountants.  It included licensing and qualifications and other practices of public accountancy (S.L. 2009, Ch. 357).

2013       A new section of the Code was added to regulate the professional organizations and to amend a section relating to the ownership of professional organizations (S.L. 2013, Ch. 91). Changes in laws related to the audits of occupation and professional boards (S.L. 2013, Ch. 404).


32052    Records


American Institute of CPAs Website.
North Dakota Board of Accountancy Website.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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